So what were my first impressions on the anime 86 – Eighty Six? Being completely honest, so far so good, but I think the biggest problem I have right now the show is that it’s very dialogue heavy; especially with regards to the most recent episodes that I’ve watched (episodes three and four).
The Republic of San Magnolia.
For a long time, this country has been besieged by its neighbor, the Giadian Empire, which created a series of unmanned drones called the Legion. After years of painstaking research, the Republic finally developed autonomous drones of their own, turning the one-sided struggle into a war without casualties—or at least, that’s what the government claims.
In truth, there is no such thing as a bloodless war. Beyond the fortified walls protecting the eighty-five Republic territories lies the “nonexistent” Eighty-Sixth Sector. The young men and women of this forsaken land are branded the Eighty-Six and, stripped of their humanity, pilot the “unmanned” weapons into battle…
Shinn directs the actions of a detachment of young Eighty-Sixers while on the battlefield. Lena is a “handler” who commands the detachment from the remote rear with the help of special communication.
The farewell story of the severe and sad struggle of these two begins!
The premise alone seems extremely interesting, and you could tell that it probably was inspired by real-world events. Throw in a mecha element, then boom, that’s your anime. Before I started watching the show, I decided to see what others were saying about the anime before the airing of the first episode, and the comments I saw were to be expected. As is with everything nowadays, anything that can be deemed ‘polarizing’ or ‘controversial’ by some will always be a topic for conversation. At its core, 86 – Eighty-Six is about a group of people within The Republic of San Magnolia who has been stripped of their rights because they do not carry the same genetics as the other citizens of the country, therefore, deemed as ‘non-humans.’ It’s because they didn’t look like the rest of the country, that once war broke out, they were the first to be exiled and are forced to fight a war for a country that considers them to be ‘replaceable,’ as a race not belonging to the state. All of this seems very familiar.
Not only does this negatively affect those who live in the 86th ‘sector’ of the country, but it also tries to involve a human element. 86 – Eighty-Six tries to shed light on the oppressed, on the emotional and physical strain it has on those of the 86th but also on a select few who acknowledge them as humans even if the state does not. Lena Milizé is special in this regard because one of her goals is to have the people of the 86th sector be acknowledged by the country that knowingly exiled them but kept it hidden from the public eye. However, something major stands in the way, and that’s her sense of duty for her country. Now it becomes a balancing act between duty and morality, and that’s what the anime is going to explore.
There isn’t anything wrong with that, but as I’ve previously mentioned at the start. So far, it’s been very dialogue-heavy, and that’s something that I don’t like given that the anime is genred as an Action, Military, Sci-Fi, Drama, Mecha. You’d expect there to be quite a lot of action, which I expected since the anime is only eleven episodes long. However, as of right now, that isn’t really the case. Since there is a human element the anime is trying to explore, most of the four episodes have been more tailored towards that. Is that something I dislike? No, because it provides context, it adds a level of immersion, it allows the viewer to feel a little more connected. That being said, if it’s just straight conversation and there is little to no animation that accompanies such dialogue, then you’re just listening to a podcast. Not to mention the action itself has been lacking as well, which is also disappointing.
Another thing I would like to mention as well is that the art style is fairly average. As is with all Mech anime, everything goes into the design and animation of the mecha, which also means that the fight scenes involving the mechs are outright epic; and that’s something I will give this anime props for. But this means there’s a lot to be desired regarding overall character design, which seems doesn’t look all that great. Since there’s been more chatter than there have been action scenes, all the resources that have gone into mecha design and animation have all been in vain thus far.
To summarize, my first impressions of the anime have been fairly good. There is still much to be desired, and since I’m only four episodes in, I know the best is yet to come. Since many people and forums speak highly of the light novel that 86 – Eighty-Six is adapted from. I’m sure it will pick up, or will it?